Last year, Australia’s national Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash League, had 32 league games plus three finals. It was deemed a great success.
But the organiser, Cricket Australia, is not content with that. This year, there will be 40 games followed by the two semi-finals and the final. And the tournament will drag on into February.
This means many of the same cricketers will be forced to play those eight extra games, putting that much more strain on their bodies and minds. How much cricket can people play before they become jaded and reduced to going through the motions?
Why are the organisers always trying to squeeze out more and more from the same players? Why are they not content with what they have – a tournament that is popular, draws fairly decent crowds and is considered a success?
There was talk last season of increasing the number of teams; mercifully, that has not happened. There is an old saying that one have too much of a good thing.
Many of the same cricketers who are expected to perform well at the BBL play in similar competitions around the globe – Pakistan (played in the UAE), the West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh all have their own leagues.
At the end of the year, it should not be surprising to find that the better cricketers in this format are quite a tired lot. The organisers seem to be content with more games, never mind if they are boring, one-sided matches.
There is a breaking point in all these tournaments, one at which the people lose interest and begin to wander away. From 2015-16 to 2016-17, there was a sizeable drop in the numbers who came to watch.
While it is true that the organisers make money before a ball is bowled — the TV rights ensure that — the BBL has been sold as a family-friendly tournament that is meant for the average Australian or visitor to the country to watch in person.
Empty stands do not look good on TV and send a message to prospective attendees. But it is unlikely that such thoughts have occurred to the likes of cricket supremo James Sutherland.